Top 3 Reasons Kids Hate Writing (And How to Change Their Minds)

28 Nov

Writing

So many teachers tell me that their students hate to write, but I don’t believe that. (More on that here.) When students say they hate writing, what they really mean is this:

1. They don’t think they can write.

2. They are not allowed to write about what interests them.

3. They are not allowed to write in their own voice.

 

Luckily, all three of these have straightforward fixes.

1. Offer your students lots of opportunities to succeed at a writing task, and praise them loudly when they do. This can be as simple as starting every week with a fill-in-the-blank metaphor contest (“Mondays are a….”) or as involved as creating a pen pal program where your students write letters to each other every week. Try to give at least three pieces of praise or encouragement for every piece of criticism.

2. Give your kids as many chances as you can to choose their own topics for writing assignments. While learning to write on assigned topics is important, so is learning to invent topics and brainstorm ideas. Try to give students at least one “free” writing assignment (poetry, journals, letters) for every topic-driven essay assignment.

3. Give your kids opportunities to write in their own voices, with their own spelling and punctuation rules. While learning to write in standard academic English is important, so is learning to find your voice and distinguish “home talk” from “school talk.” Give your kids free writes and creative assignments in which they can write in whatever voice they like, without being criticized for non-standard English. This even includes allowing slang or profanity, if the student feels that this is the best way to express his or her ideas. (I have some advice for dealing with that here.)
How do you get your kids excited about writing? I’d love to hear your ideas!

 

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2 Responses to “Top 3 Reasons Kids Hate Writing (And How to Change Their Minds)”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Why Kids Write Boring Essays (it’s not the reason you think) | That Writing Lady - March 14, 2013

    […] essays, particularly ones by kids, are notoriously dull and poorly written, right? Don’t kids hate writing? Shouldn’t we be proud to squeeze five reasonably organized paragraphs out of […]

  2. Resources used: | Grade 7 Writing - May 30, 2013

    […] That Writing Lady http://thatwritinglady.com/2012/11/28/top-3-reasons-kids-hate-writing-and-how-to-change-their-minds/ […]

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